A new Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report says one of the region’s police departments had done a good job in filling what had been an ongoing shortage of officers.
In 2014, the Santa Barbara Police Department had more than two dozen unfilled positions. Recruitment efforts were hampered by efforts ranging from the high cost of living in Santa Barbara, to competition from other law enforcement agencies. Department officials say the controversial police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri also hampered efforts to recruit new officers.
In 2016, the Police Department and the City Council implemented programs to try to boost recruitment. They set up a bonus program for city employees who helped successful recruit new officers. And, they offered bonuses to applicants who made it through training, completed their probation, and hit three years on the job. A recruiting program was also established.
By last fall, the department was declared fully staffed. The new Grand Jury report commends the city and the Police Department for dealing with the officer shortage.